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Fortnightly Magazine - September 2007

Sub-Primed and Ready

Will the turmoil on Wall Street spur a massive flight to utilities?

Richard Stavros, Executive Editor

There remains a concern that during the next economic downturn investors will pass on utilities again. The reason is that the industry’s risks are still opaque to investors.

People

(September 2007) DPL Inc. promoted Bryce Nickel to vice president of transmission and distribution operations. DPL also announced the promotion of Kevin Hall to director, transmission and distribution engineering. MDU Resources Group Inc. promoted Cynthia J. Norland, assistant vice president of administration, to vice president of administration. Portland General Electric Co. named Jay Dudley vice president, general counsel, and compliance officer. And others...

Letters to the Editor

A lengthy letter to the editor addresses whether the Energy Information Administration’s gas-market forecasts, as laid out in a recent article, are biased. The authors of the original piece, Timothy J. Considine and Frank A. Clemente, then respond to the letter.

Razing the Regulatory Compact

Smart-grid technologies will dismantle the regulated utility business model, says economist Lynne Kiesling.

Michael T. Burr

When consultants start talking about creating new service models, the eyes of utility executives and regulators tend to glaze over. But that is destined to change, according to Lynne Kiesling, a Ph.D. economist and senior lecturer at Northwestern University. The primary reason: smart metering.

The Best Little Nodal Market in Texas

Sweating the details for 2009.

Gary L. Hunt

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) introduced wholesale market competition in 1996, following the organizational change of ERCOT from a pure reliability council to an independent system operator (ISO) the same year. This makes ERCOT one of the earliest adopters of competitive electric markets. Stakeholders and regulators in ERCOT are trying to work out the details of implementing this market.

The Greening of Utility Customers

A survey finds that consumers would support higher costs of “clean coal” and alternative fuels.

Gregory E. Aliff and Branko Terzic

More than three quarters of the consumers surveyed believe that alternative energy brought benefits, and a slight majority, 54 percent, would pay an additional 5 percent on their electric bills. The survey also found that 62 percent would be willing to pay higher rates to support “clean-coal” technologies

The Devil in the Deal: Notes From an M&A Practitioner

A look at due diligence for energy transactions, and at what’s driving them.

Tamir Druz

By the end of last year, much was being made of the failed attempts at multibillion-dollar mergers by FPL with Constellation, Exelon with PSEG, and Southern Co. with Progress Energy. In spite of the repeal of the Public Utility Holding Company Act, these mega-mergers still required regulatory approvals from multiple state and federal agencies, and their high profiles attracted attention and resistance from a vast array of special interests.

Tilting to Windward

As if carbon control were a fait accompli, gen developers skew the queue toward renewable projects, driving new policy on transmission pricing.

Bruce W. Radford

Now at last, in a region other than California, we can see clearly that renewable mandates and fears of carbon taxes have influenced the power-plant development cycle. Moreover, this effect is helping to drive policy proposals for the pricing of transmission service and the recovery of costs for grid upgrades deemed necessary to bring the new plants on line.

The 40 Best Energy Companies

Will 2007 be remembered as the year of the turnaround? Several new CEOs with bold transformation programs took top spots in our third annual ranking.

Richard Stavros

(September 2007) Consistent performance over time is the Holy Grail of corporate management, and a focus of many of the executives who made this year’s ranking. Who returned to the list, and who fell off? And more important, why?

Understanding the F40

How does the modified Dupont Model reward utilities?

Jean Reaves Rollins

(September 2007) The impact of dividend policies, capital expenditures, and publicly traded equities highlights an in-depth look at what goes into the modified Dupont Model behind the Fortnightly 40 financial rankings for utilities.

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